History of the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show

Dinghy Boats


Before 1993 a county-supported festival called Bayfest, existed to celebrate the maritime heritage of Georgetown County.

The head of the event resigned, and a small group of business people volunteered to take charge of the wooden boat portion.

The motivation was basic: improve business in downtown Georgetown. Effort was put into attracting wooden boat builders and related exhibitors. The show was kept downtown, surrounded by the Front Street businesses.

The 1993 show featured 35 exhibitors, doubling the previous Bayfest, and from then on, it was off to the races for the newly named Georgetown Wooden Boat Show (and for Georgetown businesses).

In 1994, the Harbor Historical Association (HHA) was formed as the umbrella organization for the WBS and related events. Its stated mission is to “preserve and promote the maritime history of Georgetown and South Carolina.”

Through committed volunteer management and the support of local businesses, government, and the community, the Wooden Boat Show has become Georgetown’s premier event. Many Front Street merchants experience their best sales day of the year on boat show day.

Since being incorporated in 1994, the Harbor Historical Association has raised over $525,000 from this event. With financial success, a larger vision emerged. First was the Georgetown Maritime Museum (2004) initially located at the Georgetown County Chamber Visitors Center, which displayed five historic vessel models. Next, the purchase of the current waterfront space in the center of downtown Georgetown. Following a $200,000 renovation, the SC Maritime Museum opened its doors in December 2011.

The original group that volunteered to manage the 1993 wooden boat exhibit is the same group that captains the GWBS today and directs the Museum efforts. Their energy and dedication are noteworthy.

Award Winners by Category

Row

2019 – Scott Williams, Sarasota, FL – 15′ Walt Simmons Christmas Wherry (2018)

2018 – John Martin, Cottageville, SC – 14.5′ Whitehall Pulling Row Boat (2017)

2017 – Paul Diephaus, Johns Island, SC – 20′ Mi’kmaq Freighter Canoe (2017)

2016 – John, Martin, Cottageville, SC – 17′ Aeolus Whitehall Pulling Boat (1960)

2015 – John, Martin, Charleston, SC – 17′ Whitehall Pulling Boat (2001)

2014 – John, Martin, Charleston, SC – 14.5′ Whitehall Pulling Boat (2001)

2013 – Dargan Moore, Sanford , SC – 19′ Grand Banks Dory (1989)

2012 – John Martin, Cottageville, SC – 14′ Whitehall Pulling Boat (2002)

2011 – John Martin, Cottageville, SC – 15’ Whitehall Pulling Boat (2002)

2010 – John Martin, Cottageville, SC – 15′ Whitehall Pulling Boat (2002)

2009 – Mason Cox, Morehead City, NC – 18′ 4″ rowboat (2009)

2008 – Ron Cockerham, Kernersville, NC – 12′ Heidi (2008)

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Classic Row

2019 – John Martin, Cottageville, SC – 17′ Whitehall Pulling Row Boat (1960)

2018 – N/A

2017 – N/A

2016 – N/A

2015 – N/A

2014 – Jim & Alice Dean, Wilmington, NC – 8.5′ Tiny Tender (1952)

2013 – John Martin, Cottageville, SC – 17′ Aeolus Whitehall (1960)

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Canoe

2019 – Mason Cox, Morehead City, NC – 11’8″ Strip Plank Canoe (2019)

2018 – Doug Roberts, Moundsville, WV – 14′ Butternut Canoe (2006)

2017 – John Martin, Cottageville, SC – 14’8” Lapstrake Double Seater Canoe (2002)

2016 – Carly Abner, Jasper, GA – 16′ Cedar Strip Canoe (2016)

2015 – Lawrence Lucas, Mount Pleasant, SC – 17′ 4″ canoe (2001)

2014 – Carley Abner, Jasper, GA – 11.5″ Cedar strip canoe (2011)

2013 – Mason Cox, Morehead City, NC – 12′ canoe of bald cypress, carbon dated 50-100,000 yrs old (2013)

2012 – John Warren, Mt. Pleasant, SC – 16′ canoe (2011)

2011- Mike Murphy, Beaufort, SC – 12’ 10” Bear Mountain Rob Roy (2010)

2010 – Bill Oram Smith, Murrells Inlet, SC -17′ Old Town Otca canoe

2009 – Lee Morgan, Gaithersburg, MD – 13′ Lee Morgan canoe (2008)

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Classic Canoe

2019 – Doug Roberts, Moundsville, WV – 11′ Canoe (1955)

2018 – N/A

2017 – William Oram-Smith, Murrells Inlet, SC – 17’ Old Town Canoe (1920)

2016 – Robbin Cobia, Greensboro, NC – 16′ Old Town Canoe (1931)

2015 – Robbin Cobia, Greensboro, NC – 17′ Old Town canoe (1923)

2014 – Michael Grace, West Melbourne, FL – 17′ Willits Brothers sailing canoe (1956)

2013 – Captain Cobb, McClellanville, SC – 19′ Old Towne Canoe (1917)

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Canoe/Kayak

2008 – Rusty Cooper, Moncks Corner, SC – 16′ canoe (1996)

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Kayak

2019 – Matthew Gunning, Summerville, SC – 12’8″ Stand up Fishing Kayak (2016)

2018 – Paul Diephaus, Johns Island, SC -17′ Cape Ann Storm (2013)

2017 – Matthew Gunning, Summerville, SC – 12’8″ Stand Up Fishing Kayak (2016)

2016 – Carly Abner, Jasper, GA – 12′ Etowah 120 Kayak (2016)

2015 – Herb Deloach, Chattanooga, TN – 16′ kayak (2004)

2014 – Herb Deloach, Chattanooga, TN – 17.5′ Cedar & walnut kayak (2009)

2013 – Tom Hesselink, Marshallberg, NC – 15′ Black River Guide (2011)

2012 – Hamp Kirkland, Mt. Pleasant, SC – 10.5’ double paddle panoe (1999)

2011 – Hamp Kirkland, Mt. Pleasant, SC – 10.5’ double paddle panoe (1999)

2010 – Tim DeMars, Johns Island, SC-17′ redwood and cedar kayak

2009 – Alan Gearhart, Belpre, Ohio – 17′ 8″ kayak (2009)

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Classic Kayak

2019 – N/A

2018 – N/A

2017 – N/A

2016 – Roy & Peg Ivey, Anderson, SC – 16′ Wood & Canvas Kayak (1940s)

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Surf/Paddle

2019 – Sean McQuilken, Mount Pleasant, SC – 12’6″ Stand Up Paddle Board (2014)

2018 – Jon Trip / Steve Holcome, Murrells Inlet, SC -11′ Stand Up Paddle Boards (2015)

2017 – Jon Trip / Steve Holcome, Murrells Inlet, SC – 11’4” Stand Up Boards (2015 & 2016)

2016 – Dan Johnston, Blind Dog Surfboards, Calabash, NC – 10′ Surfboard

2015 – William P. Burns, Jr., Hampstead, NC – 11’7″ Stand Up Paddle Board (2014)

2014 – Scott Baumberger, Swansea, SC – 11’7″ Stand Up Paddle Board (2014)

2013 – Mike Erickson, N. Charleston, SC – 14′ Paddleboard (2013)

2012 – Janet Baumberger, Swansea, SC – 11.5′ surfboard (2011)

2011 – James Noland, Charleston, SC – 10’ Paulownia wood surfboard (2011)

2010 – Jim Noland, Charleston, SC – 11.5′ Paulownia wood surfboard

2009 – James Noland, Charleston, SC – 11’6″ surfboard (2009)

2008 – Surfboard – Martin Gruber, Surfside Beach, SC – 6′ surfboard (2007)

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Row/Paddle – (Row, Kayak, Canoe, Surfboard)

2007 – Martin Gruber, Surfside Beach, SC – 15′ Lapstrake Wherry (2006)

2006 – Martin Gruber, Surfside Beach, SC – 15′ Lapstrake Wherry (2006)

2005 – Bill Oram-Smith, Pawleys Is., SC – 17′ Old Town “OTCA” canoe (1920)

2004 – Philip Greene, Wood Song Canoes, Round O, SC – 19′ woodstrip canoe

2003 – John Martin, Megget, SC – 17′ Whitehall (2002)

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Sail

2019 – Richard Leigh, Clarksville, TN – 25′ Cat Boat (2019)

2018 – Bill Jones, Pickens, SC – 35′ Gaff Rigged Sloop (1996)

2017 – Donald Wherren, Fayetteville, NC – 11” Sailboat (2017)

2016 – Ken Byrd / Charleston Yacht Carpentry, Mt. Pleasant, SC – 48′ Coaster Schooner (1969)

2015 – Martyn Easton, Lenoir, NC – 16’ Haven 12 1/2 Sailboat (2015)

2014 – Michael Herron, Woodstock, GA – 17′ Cat Ketch (2013)

2013 – Michael Herron, Woodstock, GA – 17′ Cat Ketch (2013)

2012 – Bill Jones, Yonges Island, SC – 10′ Abaco Sailing Dinghy (1960’s)

2011- John Merritt, N. Charleston, SC – 28’ Sharpie (2011)

2010 – Robert McAlister, Georgetown, SC – 30′ Double Ended Gaff Rigged Cutter (1962)

2009 – Stephen D. Lequire, Kure Beach, NC – 24′ Sharptown Barge (2009)

2008 – Ken Johnstone, Mt. Pleasant, SC – 16′ Coquina (2008)

2007 – Ken Byrd, Mt. Pleasant, SC – 44′ Gaff Rigged Schooner “Felicity” (1969)

2006 – Charles Rook, Ravenel, SC – 8′ Sailing Dingy (1960)

2005 – Rick Hall, Mt. Pleasant, SC – 12′ Gaff Skiff (Built 1996)

2004 – Tommy Nicholson, Greensboro, NC – 28′ 100 Bushel Sharpie (2000)

2003 – Rick Hall, Mt. Pleasant, SC – 12′ Abaco Sailing…



Read More:History of the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show

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